Michigan's 2023 Dan Hodge Trophy recipient Mason Parris (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
This afternoon, WIN Magazine announced that the 2023 Dan Hodge Trophy would be awarded to Michigan 285 lber Mason Parris. Not only is Parris the first Wolverine wrestler to receive the lofty honor, but he is only the second one to even be named as a finalist (Kellan Russell was a finalist in 2011).
Parris earns the honor after finishing his senior season with a perfect 33-0 mark and his first Big Ten and NCAA titles. In both the Big Ten and NCAA finals, Parris defeated Penn State's Greg Kerkvliet.
Although the award criteria changed slightly in 2022, dominance has been one of the traits that have continued along with the award. Parris tallied a bonus point percentage of over 63% in 2022-23, a mark that is even more impressive considering his competition and the difficulty scoring at the 285 lb weight class. At the 2023 NCAA Championships, Parris had bonus-point wins in three of his five contests, including a technical fall victory over fourth-place finisher Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) in the semis and a major decision over fifth-place finisher Lucas Davison (Northwestern) in the quarters.
The award initially placed a premium on pinning, as its namesake Dan Hodge, was one of college wrestling's best pinners ever. That criterion has since been removed; however, Parris did have 11 on this season.
For the year, Parris scored 10 wins over five of the eventual 2023 All-Americans.
The national title marks the third time that Parris has earned a spot on the NCAA podium. He was fifth in 2022 and a runner-up in 2021. Additionally, after the 2020 national tournament was canceled, Parris was named a first-team All-American by the NWCA.
By Parris winning the Hodge, there have been three consecutive seasons where a heavyweight has taken home the honor. Minnesota's Gable Steveson received the trophy in 2022 and shared it with Spencer Lee in 2021. Before Steveson, Steve Mocco (2005) was the last big man to haul in the trophy.
There was no shortage of potential suitors for the Hodge in 2023. Four-time national champion Yianni Diakomihalis became only the fifth wrestler to achieve that feat and the other three that competed during the lifespan of the trophy have received the honor at least once (Pat Smith finished his career in 1994, the year before the award was first handed out).
Additionally, Patrick Glory (Princeton), Andrew Alirez (Northern Colorado), Austin O'Connor (North Carolina), Carter Starocci (Penn State), and Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) all finished the year unbeaten. Record has been the first criteria for the Hodge since its inception and only once has a wrestler with a loss taken the honor (Brent Metcalf - 2008).
Parris finished his Michigan career with a 126-18 record. Nine of those losses came as a true freshman and six more came during an injury-plagued 2021-22 season.
With Parris being named the 2023 Hodge Trophy winner, the award has been given to a Big Ten wrestler every year since 2017.
Votes for the Hodge Trophy are taken from a collection of wrestling journalists, past Hodge Trophy recipients and a fan vote.